CHINESE authorities are investigating the former president of Interpol for bribery and other crimes – and indicate that political transgressions may also have landed him in trouble.

Meng Hongwei, the country’s vice minister for public security, is being investigated due to his own “wilfulness and for bringing trouble upon himself”, Beijing said.

A statement on China’s ministry of public security website gave no details of the bribes Meng allegedly took or other crimes he is accused of, but it suggested that he is also being investigated for political lapses.

It indicated that Meng, a member of the Communist Party, may have somehow been tainted by the former security chief and ex-Politburo Standing Committee member Zhou Yongkang, who is now serving a life sentence for corruption.

Meng’s various jobs likely put him in close contact with Zhou and other Chinese leaders in the security establishment, a sector long synonymous with corruption, opacity and human rights abuses.

Interpol announced that Meng had resigned as president of the international police agency, effective immediately, shortly after China made the announcement that he was under investigation.

Meng disappeared while on a trip home to China late last month, prompting the French government and Interpol to make their concerns known publicly.

Interpol announced he had resigned as president of the international police agency shortly after China announced that he was under investigation.

Meng is the latest high-ranking official, and one with an unusually prominent international standing, to fall victim to a sweeping crackdown by the ruling party.

In a sign of how seriously the authorities regard the case, Zhao Lezhi, the minister for public security, chaired a meeting this morning with senior officials of the ministry’s party committee to discuss it.

Senior figures caught in president Xi Jinping’s corruption crackdown were mostly convicted of corruption, but officials have since also said they were accused of “conspiring openly to usurp party leadership”.